1st steps: domain names
Q: My book is coming out in a few months. What are the most important first steps I should do now to prepare for an effective online presence?
Your very first steps should revolve around protecting your brand online. What does this mean?
First, get the URL (domain name) of the author name on your book – however your name is going to appear. (If you are using a pen name, it is probably a good idea to also get your own name besides the pen name.)
Get a .com domain name if it at all possible. If you have a very common name, perhaps also use your middle name, even if it is not appearing on the book cover, to ensure that people find you and not another person with the same name.
Second, get the URL of the name of the book. Again, if you have a rather generic book title such as “True Love” (I’m making this up for the purposes of this post), you might want to add something to the domain name. One possibility would be the name of your protagonist. So you might get the URL www.TrudySeeksTrueLove.com (always .com) even if the book title is simply “True Love.” (Or get both.)
Now this example connects to the third step. What if the book publisher has chosen a title that doesn’t really fit the book. For example, the title is “An Exciting Adventure.” This title could be about almost anything, but your novel is about being lost at sea.
You might, then, also get the URL www.LostatSea.com in order to grab the attention of people interested in this type of adventure story. (We’ll call this a keyword title – a title with keywords to both attract people and search engine results when people are looking for such a story.)
Fourth, if you have a website built to promote your book (which you should), you can have the website actually built on one of the URLs. Then you can have the other URLs redirect to the home page of the website.
(An example of this is that my business partner has her URL author name www.yaelkmiller.com redirect to the home page of her as-yet-unpublished Middle Grade novel www.hurricanehoodoo.com )
How to use the different URLs when participating in online activities:
Use whichever URL is appropriate for your website activity at the moment. For example, suppose you are leaving a comment on a blog post regarding books about adventures at sea. Then use the URL www.LostatSea.com as part of your signature at the end of the blog post comment you leave.
Or perhaps your book is featured on a book review site. In this case you would probably want to use the URL of the title of the book.
An interview about you and your writing aspirations might be best with the URL of your author name.
And, yes, if you want extra security you could get the same domain names with other extensions, such as .net. But as more and more extensions are being made available, this could get to be overkill.
Finally, it comes down to protecting your brand the same way companies protect their brand names. A book author is a company of one. Use your brand as often as possible to keep its identification connected to you.
Request: I would really like to answer any specific questions that you have. Please leave questions below or email Joylene with your questions for next month’s blog post.
© 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) and her social media marketing company partner Yael K. Miller (@MillerMosaicLLC on Twitter) coach clients on how to effectively use the power of social media to attract their targeted audiences.
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